Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
If Only Life Were Like Language
by Paul Hostovsky
and all the natural resources like words,
then the world would be
an unambiguously better place.
Because when you use a word
like apocalypse, say, it doesn’t then follow
that there is one less apocalypse to go around––
there are still an infinite number of apocalypses,
more than enough for everyone. And the more
people who use a language the more
the language grows rich and strong
and resourceful and ramifying
with new and far-out ways of saying things,
not to mention all the lexical borrowings that go on,
the exotic words and phrases, and the names––
names of dinosaurs and flowers
and racehorses and hurricanes––
and the lists, praise be to God for the lists!
Which is just the opposite of the world
with its dying rivers and dwindling resources
and endangered species list.
With words you can make stuff up out of nothing
which is more than you can say
for physics or chemistry or corn. Earth’s
the right place for language. I don’t know where
else you could invent an imaginary escape hatch
up and out of a dying world,
and take a little of the world with you in your pockets,
like the jingling coins of a realm,
or like the crepitating bits and pieces
of a beautiful intact dead language
for sprinkling over the smart lunch conversation
in the next.
“If Only Life Were Like Language” by Paul Hostovsky from Is That What That Is. FutureCycle Press © 2017. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
The Britannica was a product of the Scottish Enlightenment. The first installment came out on this day in 1768, and a new section was released every week, and it was finally completed in 1771 and was several thousand pages long. The entry for “woman,” in its entirety, read: “‘Female of Man’ See HOMO.”
The Washington Post came out on this day in 1877. It was four pages long and each letter was typeset by hand. It cost three cents.
Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas. The figure of Santa Claus comes from St. Nick, who in turn comes from the real-life St. Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop from Myra, in what is now Turkey. In many parts of the world, today is the day that children get gifts — on the evening of December 5th, they might put out shoes and get small gifts like fruit, coins, or toys.
It’s the birthday of lyricist and composer Ira Gershwin (works by this artist), born Israel Gershowitz in New York City (1896). His father was a businessman, dabbling in everything from restaurants to pool parlors to cigar stores, and Ira said: “When my father sold a business and started another we could inevitably move to a new neighborhood. … My father loved to start businesses, but then he lost interest. He’d go and play pinochle and wouldn’t supervise the latest venture.”
It’s the birthday of diplomat and writer Baldassare Castiglione, (books by this author) born near Mantua, Italy (1478). He wrote poems, including love sonnets, but he is most famous for a book called Il Cortegiano (1528), or The Courtier, which described the ideal Renaissance nobleman. Castiglione based his observations on his many years as a courtier in the Court of Urbino, a court full of famous artists, writers, and intellectuals. He said that a courtier should have natural grace, intelligence, good looks, and noble birth; should be a skilled and brave fighter; not to mention have a thorough knowledge of art, literature, music, and philosophy. The book was translated into many languages, and it went through more than 100 editions.
He wrote, “Therefore let the man we are seeking, be very bold, stern, and always among the first, where the enemy are to be seen; and in every other place, gentle, modest, reserved, above all things avoiding ostentation and that impudent self-praise by which men ever excite hatred and disgust in all who hear them.”
And it’s the birthday of children’s writer Susanna Moodie, (books by this author) born in Bungay, England (1803). She married an adventurous man who wanted to go settle in the wilderness of Canada, and so she went with him. She wrote about the hard life of the Canadian frontier in her memoirs, Roughing It in the Bush (1852) and Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush (1853), and novels like Flora Lyndsay (1854). Roughing It in the Bush has remained a classic and been called the Canadian version of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books.
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